The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

School start date benefits students, athletes

#3 Photo by Yousuf El-Jayyousi

Nobody likes to be in school during June. With temperatures in the high ‘80s and the prospect of sitting poolside under the warm sun, students would much rather spend the first days of June on summer vacation than learning about the last unit of precalculus.
One group of politicians, the Missouri Joint Committee on Education, however, seeks to extend the school year into the first days of June.
Missouri’s state law requires the first day of school to be scheduled no earlier than 10 days before Labor Day. The “agricultural exemption,” however, allows districts to be exempt from this requirement if they choose. CPS does not use this exception, beginning school in mid-August and ending in late May. A proposition from Missouri’s Congress seeks to make every district in the state push back the first day of school to late August, which would release school in early June.
While a postponed first day of school offers certain benefits, most notably tourism, the current system used by RBHS is simply much better. By pushing back the first day of school, the students who wish to participate in the Missouri State Fair can do so without the burden of early assignments and assessments. Also, areas like the Lake of the Ozarks could stay open later for students, as would local pools and country clubs.
These summer activities may be more accessible in August, but they are just as popular in June when school normally gets out. But students are much more likely to travel to the Lake or go to the pool during the first week of school in August as opposed to the last week of school during finals in June.
While the argument for the state fair is valid, many school districts, notably the ones in St. Louis, Kansas City and even Columbia, do not have a large number of students participating in the Fair. There is no need to make every district in the state change their schedules when those schools that participate in the Fair can easily access the “agricultural exemption.”
Furthermore, because of CPS’ current schedule, the end of the first semester ends fairly evenly with Christmas and the New Year. If the first day of school were pushed back, school curriculum would have to adjust, making second semester longer than the first and making finals more difficult.
Also, from an academic standpoint, the school year ends at around the same as AP testing, giving teachers sufficient time to provide their students with all the necessary material along with a week or two of review. A later first day of school would put Missouri students at a disadvantage for AP testing.
Athletically, students who participate in spring sports compete in district tournaments and postseason play at the end of May. If school were to end in June, those student-athletes would miss valuable class time during finals or end of year exams when they would typically be released from school. Pushing back the first day of school would not be fair to student-athletes.
From an academic and athletic perspective, the majority of students in the state of Missouri benefit from a school year beginning in mid-August. If the Missouri Joint Committee on Education truly prioritize providing students with the best academic opportunities, they would keep the system as it is today. The committee should recognize that the “agricultural exemption” exists for a reason, and for the majority of students in the state of Missouri, changing the system would create more problems than it solves.

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  • J

    Jadyn LisenbyNov 6, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I think that leaving the first and last day of school dates how they are is better than changing it. I’m one of the families who leaves on a certain week of June every year so changing it would mess things up. Also, I think that the semesters being different would be difficult because it would be harder for students to study for bigger finals because more topics are learned in one semester than the other.

  • R

    Riley JonesNov 2, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    This is actually really accurate, especially for all the kids who stress enough about finals and AP testing during the end of the school year already